Friday, December 30, 2011

Use vs. love

People are made to be loved.

Things are made to be used.

No wonder we end up with a messed up world when we use people and love things.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Negative return

OK, here I go again writing about space shuttles…
But once again, this is not all about the shuttles, but just as much about life and people in general, really.

Those who know the shuttles well might recognize the call “Negative return” from Mission Control Center in Houston and know that, in its’ original meaning, this call indicates that a space shuttle has literally passed the point of no return after a launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In other words: the departing shuttle is so high, so far away and travelling so fast that it’s no longer possible to just nose over and glide back to Kennedy for landing, which up until then is how they would actually abort the launch if it came to that.

2011 got to be the year that all 3 surviving space shuttles flew their final missions, so after Atlantis landed for the last time on 21. July, the term “Negative return” kind of took on a new meaning for the shuttle.

But anyway, I promised to talk about life and people, didn’t I?
Yes, I did. So, how do I get this thing to say something about life and people? Well, the shuttles had their abort plans and backout procedures. For every step of the way, there were detailed procedures describing how they would get out of a messy situation and put the shuttle back on the ground. For instance, after “Negative return”, they had landing sites in Europe or Africa (known as “TAL sites”, short for Trans Atlantic Landing sites) that could host a shuttle landing in an emergency. But as far as life itself goes, more often than not, there is no abort option or backout procedure that can be followed. Once you’re in this life you’re in it and what’s done is done. When life is great, you can’t make a backup of it for possible restore some time in the future. When things go wrong tomorrow, you can’t go back to yesterday to fix it and then try again some other time when you’ve figured out a better way to do things. What’s done is done and the days that go wrong in your life will stay wrong forever. But you don’t have to stay there with them, because there’s always a new day coming tomorrow. Mostly that’s a good thing, but some times that can be bad too. Either way, it’s coming. Not much you can do about that either. Hence, in a way, every living breathing moment is a “Negative return” call.

Life isn't always easy, but it always keeps going forward.
Some times it might seem like you’re stuck on the shores of hell and the only way out is through.

Getting through hell is not easy. But people do it every day.

Negative return.

Comments welcome

I decided to make it easier to leave comments on my blog since I’m basically not getting any and I suspect the kind of cumbersome setup I’ve been using so far has contributed to that fact.

So, effective immediately and unlike my earlier practice, all comments are now published immediately and I will read them after they're published just like everybody else. Also, I have removed the word verification step for non-members wanting to leave a comment. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep things like this from now on. :-)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My thoughts on the environment

We keep hearing people speak as if we humans decide whether our planet lives or dies.
I think not.

This planet has been around for almost 5 billion years. It has survived all kinds of disasters and carried life for hundreds of millions of years before the first human walked on it. We were not the beginning of this planet and we will not be the end of it.

It’s not about saving the planet, it’s a question of whether we can save ourselves and the environment we live in.

The dinosaurs could not, but at least that wasn’t their fault.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My thoughts on death and Osama

Earlier this year, I read a note where an American published his thoughts on Osama bin Laden. I’m not going to write a lot about him, just share 3 thoughts I made upon reading this note.

My American friend started out by saying he was just happy Osama was gone and the victims of September 11 could finally rest in peace. And then he said we should not celebrate Osama’s death because Osama did not deserve recognition.

First of all, I really don’t think Osama has any say over whether the victims rest in peace or not. That is between them and their God, and possibly those left behind. Osama has no part in the equation except possibly as a target for revenge – which may seem legitimate, but has very little to do with resting in peace, really.

Second, I agree that Osama does not deserve recognition, but haven’t we already given him more recognition than he could have dreamed of by talking and writing so much about him all these years? If we don’t want to give him recognition, we shouldn’t even mention his name.

Third, I agree that we should not celebrate his death. But for a different reason:

Death is not a thing to be celebrated.


Wake up, September is history

Summer has come and passed, the innocence can never last
Wake me up when September ends

As many of you will have already recognized, these are the opening lines of the song “Wake me up when September ends” by Green Day, written in the aftermath of the tragic events on September 11, 2001. In September 2011 it was 10 years ago. I didn’t write about it on that day or even that month, but I decided that I didn’t want to not write about it at all either, so here I go.

Here comes the rain again, falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again, becoming who we are
As my memory rests, but never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends

Like most people who remember that day, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard. I was at work, it was early afternoon our time and the end of my work day was little more than an hour away when we first started hearing about slow network connections. As a DBA (database admin), I’m generally not that much into network issues and operations, but some colleagues who are started sniffing around for clues as to what could be causing unusual traffic jams on the lines on what otherwise seemed to be a fairly normal Tuesday afternoon. It was quickly determined to be internet traffic clogging up the corporate nets, so the next move was to check the internet activity logs for clues as to what was happening online that got so big all of a sudden. And basically, what they found out was all of a sudden, it seemed like practically everyone had started feverishly checking various news agencies and many were live streaming TV news online. Something big must have happened. Then there were whispers in the corridors about two airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center.

I remember I myself looked up a major Norwegian newspaper online. The front page took noticeably longer than normal to load. And when it finally came up, I got a near full screen image of the second airliner smashing into the second tower and exploding, at which point it was clear for all to see that this was absolutely not an accident.

I don’t remember getting any more work done that day, but I must have somehow completed the task I was working on just before, because it wasn’t something I could have just walked away from.

Unlike certain others who have written about this, I had absolutely no “mixed feelings” with regards to these attacks. Yes, I can at least partially understand how and why there are people in this world who have very little love for the United States of America. But I can never understand how anyone could look at a city full of people who are just going about their business and not trying to hurt anybody – and see nothing but enemies and legitimate targets! I can never understand that, nor will I ever accept it. It’s just wrong, and it’s going to be just as wrong no matter what cause anybody tries to link with it. There is no such thing as and end to justify the means or an action being “inherently justified” if it’s done for the right reasons. It is the action itself that is good or bad. Believe it or not, the reason is pretty much irrelevant in this context. Hence, in my opinion, if you’re deliberately targeting and murdering civilians, you’re not fighting for a cause at all, you’re just plain being evil.

And that’s what September 11 was to me: Just plain evil.

But it’s 10 years ago, so wake up, September is history.

This is the official video with the “Full story”.
I could add a few more comments, but for now I’ll let it speak for itself…